The Fortifications at Corfu Town (1848)
About this artwork
Although now best known for his nonsense verse, such as ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat’, Edward Lear was an outstanding landscape artist and travel writer. Lear travelled to Corfu for the first time in April 1848 at the invitation of his friend George Bowen. He wrote to his sister Ann on 14 May, ‘I wish I could give you any idea of the beauty of this island – it really is a Paradise’. This unusual round format watercolour shows the double crowned fortress of Corfu town in the distance, with the Albanian mountains beyond. Lear returned to paint this view again and again.
- title: The Fortifications at Corfu Town
- accession number: D 5551.15
- artist: Edward LearEnglish (1812 - 1888)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- materials: Pen and brown ink and watercolour
- date created: 1848
- measurements: Diameter: 35.24 cm
- credit line: Accepted by H.M. Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery of Scotland, 2003
Although now best known for his nonsense verse, Edward Lear was a superb draughtsman, a talented musician, an intrepid traveller and an outstanding landscape artist and travel writer. He was born in London and began to draw commercially at the age of sixteen. He developed a passion for travelling and in 1837 he moved to Rome, where he lived for a decade. Lear visited Greece for the first time in 1848, as a part of an extended tour that took him to Corfu, Athens, Turkey, Albania and Egypt, before returning to Greece in the spring of 1849. He lived in Corfu form 1855-64, and continued to lead an itinerant existence. He travelled widely in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and touring India and Sri Lanka in 1873-5. His final years were spent in San Remo, Italy where he died in 1888.